Heat Wave in the Context of Climate Change: A Cross Sectional Study on Awareness and Practices among Health Workers in North East Nigeria

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International Journal of Research and Scientific Innovation (IJRSI) | Volume VI, Issue X, October 2019 | ISSN 2321–2705

Heat Wave in the Context of Climate Change: A Cross Sectional Study on Awareness and Practices among Health Workers in North East Nigeria

Adah Ruth1, Olusonde Oluseyi2, Nashon Benjamin3

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1Department of Paediatrics, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos. Plateau State, Nigeria
2National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Abuja Nigeria
3Adamawa State Ministry of Health, Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria

Abstract:-The most obvious evidence of global warming and climate change is the frequent heat waves experienced globally. There have been reports of increased morbidity and mortality associated with heat wave periods. Although heat wave as an effect of global warming is a worldwide phenomenon, very few studies on issues of climate change come from resource poor counties of the tropics. The recent heat waves experienced in Adamawa state Nigeria is of public health concern. The perception and practice of health workers during heat wave conditions not only affects their health but that of the public they serve. This study aims at determining health workers’ perceptions of cause of the heatwave, its effect on health and protective measures taken.
The study was adescriptive cross-sectional one conducted among health workers in Yola, Adamawa state during the April 2019 heatwave. Largely open-ended questionnaires were used to obtain data from 80 health workers (doctors, nurses, community health extension workers-CHEWs) working in different levels and agencies of the health sector. Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23.0 Univariate and bivariate analysis were carried out and the level considered statistically significance was set at p< 0.05. The results indicate that majority (68.8%)of health workers perceived that the increased environmental heat was associated with severe discomfort. A large proportion (72.5%) of health workers had cause to educate individuals on heat management but only few (25%) had good knowledge on heat related morbidity and 13.8% were aware of any existing guidelines on management of heat waves. Ignorance and misconceptions exist surrounding the cause and effects of the heat waves in the context of changing climate with the vast majority(90%) perceiving themselves as having no role to play in climate change. Trees and shades (29.2%) were the most frequently used methods for protecting self from heat at home, while few practiced increased fluid intake (7.1%). Almost a fifth (17.5%)of respondents practiced no method of keeping cool at work. On this basis, it is recommended that there be collaborative efforts by the state ministries of health and related agencies to expand the narrative of climate change to include the health threat. Involving health workers in communication, advocacy and managing the effect is required if the targets of the 13th SDG is to be achieved.

Keywords: Global warming, workers, knowledge, morbidity cooling